MEXICO: Eyes turn to Grupo Modelo, Anheuser-Busch InBev
FEMSA's tie-up with a major international brewer "could accelerate an acquisition of Modelo by A-B InBev", one analyst told just-drinks today (12 January).
Modelo leads Mexico's beer market, but FEMSA is a strong second with a 43% market share.
Modelo and A-B InBev are currently locked in arbitration over ownership.
A-B owned a 50% non-controlling stake in Modelo, but the Mexican brewer has argued that this should not automatically pass to the new A-B InBev conglomerate, formed via InBev's US$52bn takeover of A-B in late 2008.
A spokesperson for A-B InBev, brewer of Stella Artois and Budweiser, said today that there is no update on the dispute. "We can only repeat that the arbitration is ongoing," she said.
Another analyst told just-drinks that he expects a resolution to the dispute by the end of April, and potentially by the end of next month.
Most analysts expect A-B InBev to seek control of Modelo at some stage.
"Our analysis shows that for both sides it is much more beneficial to create majority control for A-B InBev in Modelo than to continue with arbitration," said Gerard Rijk, of Netherlands-based ING Bank, in a note last week.
ING suggested that A-B InBev could take an overall 62.4% share in Modelo, which brews Corona beer.
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